Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Insider Trading With The Twins

Twins Shopping Span and Liriano?
The Right Deal Could Send Them Packing
With a week to go before the no-frills-attached trading deadline, a lot of discussion surrounding a possible Twins deal is being tossed about. There are some of the typical absurdities (Craig Monroe for anyone, Mike Lamb for anyone, etc.) and some intriguing thoughts (Adrian Beltre coming to the Twins, for instance). But in reality, the Twins are sitting tight looking for two spots: a setup man for closer Joe Nathan and a right-handed power hitter to bat behind Justin Morneau.

It will take a fair amount of talent to get one of those prizes. The Twins have been fielding a fair amount of phone calls, according to my sources. Certainly other GMs are inquiring about top
prospects Ben Revere (OF, Class A Beloit), Shooter Hunt (RHP, Rookie Elizabethton), Deolis Guerra (RHP, Class A Ft. Myers), Joey Benson (OF, Class A Beloit), Tyler Robertson (LHP, Class A Ft. Myers), Anthony Swarzak (RHP, Class AA New Britain), Trevor Plouffe (SS, Class AAA Rochester) and Brian Duensing (LHP, Class AAA Rochester). A quick look at that list and it's easy to see the Twins are loaded for pitching prospects heading into their unofficial target date of 2010 for a World Series run.

Surprisingly, the Twins are also asking questions to get feeling for the market for Francisco Liriano (LHP, Class AAA Rochester) and current big league OF Denard Span. With Michael Cuddyer's injury status still in limbo, the Twins may need Span, but he's been listed as a top prospect long enough that his recent success could bolster large returns in a seemingly lackluster trade market.

Word is the Twins are unhappy with Liriano, his agent, fans and the media pushing for the left-hander to return to the big league club. The entire front office is adamant they won't let anyone tell them how to run their club. Easy to say, but harder to do when Liriano goes out and tosses seven shutout innings in a 13-0 win over Toledo Tuesday (he struck out 10, allowed two hits, and walked two).

Liriano improved to 9-2 in Class AAA and hasn't allowed an earned run in a month. The Twins will either need to use his success to pull off a major trade or will need to trade someone to fit him in the current roster. Secretly, the Twins front office has been hoping for a sore arm to allow someone to go on the DL, as so often happens with young pitchers this time of year.


Jimmy Olichwier said...

It would be hard to fathom the Twins trading Liriano or Span, they're both cheap and I don't think their due for a hefty raise next year. Liriano will be in the rotation next year when Livan is gone (oddly enough, Livan has the same agent as Liriano, but Livan's contract is garaunteed, so he and the agent get paid no matter what).
Span is another matter, with Gomez, Cuddy and Delmon already in the outfield, where do you put him? Move Cuddy to DH, then you lose one of the best arms in the game. The best option would be to make Span the fourth outfielder and have him start every other game or something. Injuries happen and depth is nice to have.
On a different note, check out Liriano's minor league game log at [link][/link]

Anonymous said...

Per Major League Baseball Rules a player cannot be traded less than one year after he is drafted. Thus, I highly doubt anyone is asking about Shooter Hunt... great sources.

Bullpen Catcher said...

GMs often get creative with that one-year rule, typically agreeing to make that player "a player to be named later" in order to circumvent it. Shooter Hunt is a prospect other teams are keeping an eye on, especially given the Twins' system wide surfeit of pitching prospects. Mentioning interest in a player may be planting a seed for future transactions between the team as well.